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Hopeless Outlook Linked With Atherosclerosis in Women

Last Updated: August 28, 2009.

Women who show signs of hopelessness are more likely to have subclinical atherosclerosis compared to their more optimistic counterparts, according to a study published online Aug. 27 in Stroke, while a second study finds that the extent of apathy a stroke patient feels has an important impact on stroke outcomes.

FRIDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Women who show signs of hopelessness are more likely to have subclinical atherosclerosis compared to their more optimistic counterparts, according to a study published online Aug. 27 in Stroke, while a second study found that the extent of apathy a stroke patient feels has an important impact on stroke outcomes.

Mary O. Whipple, of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and colleagues conducted a study of 559 women with no clinical evidence of cardiovascular disease and found that increasing signs of hopelessness were associated with significantly higher mean carotid artery intimal-medial thickening.

Nancy E. Mayo, Ph.D., of McGill University Health Center in Montreal, and colleagues interviewed the caregivers of 408 stroke survivors one, three, six and 12 months after stroke, and found that those with a high degree of apathy had worse outcomes in terms of participation, physical function, and perception of health.

"Having a stroke, recovering from a stroke, and getting on with the rest of life after a stroke would be considered by many to be stressors," Mayo and colleagues write. "Emotional reserve may be a factor distinguishing those who seem to master their health condition and disability from those who do not. Apathy is clearly one key ingredient that has been under-investigated in stroke, and this article shows apathy can be quantified and that it impacts strongly on stroke recovery."

Abstract - Whipple
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Abstract - Mayo
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